Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee
kevin_standlee

Westercon Opening Act

A significant advantage of being the first item on the main stage at Westercon was that we had an extended period to get things set up at relative leisure. Consequently, setup went pretty smoothly with only what I might consider the "usual" sorts of small hitches. Earlier in the day, we realized that we'd forgotten the banners that we normally hang from the front of the table, so Lisa improvised by stringing together a bunch of the colorful MGSF show flyers to hang in front of the tables, and that worked well.


Here's the Main Stage setup before people started filing in. The Main Stage is the Atrium, an open area of the hotel off of which the other function space opens. This gave us a large, airy space with theatre-style seating immediately in front of the stage and large round tables to the sides, with lots of room for circulation. An appreciable portion of the convention attendance (over 400 of the over 700 total members have already registered and were on site) was there to watch, play, and laugh at our show.

The show itself wasn't perfect — no live show is apt to be perfect — but even when we had a tech issue it seems to have added to the overall good atmosphere. My ECM-51A microphone started acting up, and we first thought it was a short in the microphone's relatively fragile wiring, but then Lisa realized that the little N battery that is inside the microphone was dying, so we had to pause the show while she, wearing her Match Game SF production crew shirt, came up on stage and fixed the microphone for me. We do try give the show as professional a polish as we can. The audience seemed to enjoy it, the panelists were very good-natured, and the contestants all went away happy-looking. We did four shows and finished about the time I thought we would, giving us a reasonable amount of time to break down and move the tables to the back of the stage before the Opening Ceremonies. Bob Hole packed up the show boxes (prizes, questions, etc.) and he and I moved the boxes back to our room while Lisa was resetting for Opening Ceremonies.

Thanks to Bob Hole directing our team of minions (production assistants), Lisa keeping the magic flowing behind the tech desk, and Eric Larson doing his usual sterling job as announcer, our first MGSF show in nearly two years must be considered a success. I was so happy that both Bob and Eric were able to attend Westercon; I know it was a bit of a financial strain for both of them, and I want them to know how much I appreciate it.

Westercon asked Lisa to provide the tech for the Opening Ceremony, so she ran a fixed microphone up to the stage and kept two speakers running. This worked just fine for Toastmaster David Gerrold to emcee the ceremony, along with co-chairs Kevin Roche and Andy Trembley with announcements and such. The Atrium, which had been comfortably full for Match Game SF was overflowing and completely SRO for the Opening.


Chris Garcia skipped having to find a chair by watching from the Fanzine Lounge, which, like the other second-floor function rooms, has windows that overlook the atrium. He taped hand-lettered signs saying BEST SEATS EVAR! to the amusement of the audience.


David Gerrold introduced and bantered with the guests: Special Costume Guests John and Bjo Trimble, Writers Nicola Griffith and Kelley Eskridge, Artist Eric Shanower, Small Press Special Guest David Maxine, and Radio Free Skaro (Warren Frey, Steven Schapansky, Chris Burgess). The co-chairs thanked the many generous donations that allowed Westercon to bring in guests, including grants from RCFI (Renovation) and CanSMOF (Anticipation) and many individuals, all of whom helped make Westercon 66 that much more Awesome.


David Gerrold takes the stage to introduce the guests.


Kelly Eskridge and Nicola Griffith speak to the audience from the floor. Fortunately, Lisa had provided enough cable so that the microphone could be passed to those guests who didn't want to come on stage. I was remiss and didn't take photos of the other guests as they they were introduced.


During the ceremony, co-chairs Kevin Roche and Andy Trembley reviewed the "Who is Agent 66?" campaign during the promotion of Westercon 66. After considerable analysis, they announced that they had found her!


More photos are in my Westercon 68 Flickr Set. There will probably be more later as my time permits. The only reason I got these photos up on Friday was because I woke up earlier than I expected. It takes longer to process these things than I would like, but I've learned the hard way that just posting unprocessed, un-captioned photos is almost worse than not taking them at all.

The Opening Ceremonies ended before the fireworks at Cal Expo began with fans being given directions for where they could go to see the fireworks, and after the largest part of the crowd cleared, Lisa started to break down the tech.

Lisa was very happy to have been able to be the person who made the tech magic happen for people like David Gerrold and for Bjo Trimble, and for all of the other Westercon guests. She had the tech gear stored away fairly quickly (the tech set-up for Opening Ceremonies is substantially less ambitious than that of Match Game), and she and I got the gear hauled back to the room — even with a queue for the elevators — with enough time to go back down and outside to find a place where we could watch fireworks. The weather had cooled slightly, which would prove very convenient later. After the big show at Cal Expo (smaller shows in the area were visible from the party floor for some time thereafter), Lisa and I headed back to our room, had a small late supper (we'd had nothing but food bars, water, and soda since lunch), and spent about an hour going through the parties on the 12th floor before heading to the room, planning to turn in (relatively) early and get some sleep, as both of us were pretty tired and were looking forward to our middle day of Westercon, where our only commitment was not until 4 PM.
Tags: lisa, match game sf, westercon
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